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The Prenetics Ltd. logo is displayed at the company’s laboratory in Hong Kong on July 31, 2020.

Getty Images Hong Kong biotech company Prenetics is going public through a merger with Artisan Acquisition — a special purpose acquisition company, or SPAC — in a deal that will value the combined entity at $1.7 billion, the companies announced Thursday.| Bloomberg | Getty Images

Hong Kong biotech company Prenetics is going public through a merger with Artisan Acquisition — a special purpose acquisition company, or SPAC — in a deal that will value the combined entity at $1.7 billion, the companies announced Thursday.

Confirming CNBC’s earlier report, the two companies said the transaction is expected to close as early as the fourth quarter.

Prenetics, a Hong Kong unicorn or start-up worth billions of dollars, will now be publicly traded.

When the merger is complete, Prenetics will become a Nasdaq listed company under the new ticker symbol PRE.

The combined company is expected to generate cash proceeds of up to $459million, which can be used for strategic acquisitions and geographical expansion.

On Friday, July 31, 2020, a lab technician in protective clothing processes RTPCR Covid-19 test results at Prenetics Ltd.’s Hong Kong laboratory.

Adrian Cheng (CEO and Executive Vice Chairman, Hong Kong-listed) is backing Artisan Acquisition.| Bloomberg | Getty Images

Artisan Acquisition is backed by Adrian Cheng, CEO and Executive Vice Chairman of Hong Kong-listed New World Development. Prenetics will draw on Cheng’s extensive business portfolio that includes property, hotel, healthcare, and retail.

Prenetics, a genetic and diagnostic testing company based in Hong Kong, operates in 10 different countries. The company has performed more than 5,000,000 Covid-19 tests to date for clients such as the Hong Kong government or London Heathrow Airport.

It counts names like Chinese internet company Alibaba, and insurers Ping An and Prudential as strategic investors.  

Since its inception, the company has seen significant growth since 2014. The company projects that 2021 revenues will increase threefold year-on–year to $205 millions and reach $600 million in 2025.

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